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South sets early pace at Medford Rotary Relays

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Opening night in 83rd annual track and field meet does not disappoint at Spiegelberg Stadium

For the first time in three years, the atmosphere seemed as electric as the results Friday night during the 83rd annual Medford Rotary Relays at Spiegelberg Stadium.

“It just felt like 2019 again,” said North Medford track and field coach Piet Voskes, still soaking it all in late into the night Friday.

“It was Friday Night Lights,” he added. “It was something that most kids don’t ever get to experience. The stadium was packed, the lights were on and there was kind of a palpable energy that the kids haven’t had for a couple years. Parents were yelling and screaming for their kids and I think it felt normal again. It just felt like track was back.”

After no spring season in 2020 and a makeshift season cobbled together in 2021, this year’s Medford Rotary Relays took on a different feel with Day 1 taking part as a night meet at Spiegelberg Stadium. The rest of the meet moves over to Bowerman Field on the North Medford High campus today, with events running 12-3 p.m.

“There’s just something about the acoustics of that facility,” Voskes said of Spiegelberg. “It just reverberates and you could hear parents cheering and it was a very cool atmosphere. Even our older Rotarians who had gone through Medford High School were very emotional about it and said there was just something special about the meet being back there.”

There was no shortage of things to cheer for among the locals, especially those following the South Medford boys program and junior standout Andrew Walker.

The Panthers were able to claim the boys 4x100-meter relay in 43.51 seconds after Walker took the baton on the final leg, caught and passed Roseburg senior Landyn Dupper to secure the victory. Deacon Edgar, Benjamin Krebs and Asher Johnson also ran key legs for South Medford to surpass Roseburg (43.64) in a nail-biter.

Walker stretched his legs again to help South Medford claim the distance medley relay — featuring legs of 1,200, 400, 800 and 1,600 meters — in 11 minutes, 3.95 seconds. Connor Singer, Arik Parker and Maiorano filled out the foursome.

“I think South Medford in the DMR was a great performance,” said Voskes. “That’s a pretty talented group when you include Andrew Walker on the 400 leg of that. They were dominant in that right out of the gate, and Michael Maiorano ran a great anchor leg (in the 1,600).”

For Walker, who holds the state’s best time in the 100 at 10.74, the 400 portion was a little longer than he’s accustomed to for the Panthers, but that’s what makes the quirky nature of the Medford Rotary Relays so enjoyable.

“He told me that was the first 400 of his life,” Voskes said with a laugh, “and he looked good. He looked really fast.”

North Medford’s winning effort of 8:40.95 in the boys 4x800 relay was also notable, with Trent Wayman, Jimmy Scull, Alec Winters and Trey Driskell teaming to edge runner-up Crater by about five seconds.

“That was a great performance as well by the (4x800) group,” said Voskes. “They ran really strong.”

Roseburg claimed the inaugural coed relay that was run as an exhibition since it didn’t fit the event’s typical boys and girls scoring model.

In the girls 400 shuttle hurdle relays, Crater’s quartet of Lucy Mitchell, Olivia Slaughter, Kate Harnois and Karrah Borchard won in 52.50 to finish three seconds ahead of runner-up Cascade Christian (55.61) and third-place South Medford (55.65).

The Grants Pass girls posted some impressive efforts in the relay-dominated Friday lineup, winning the 400, 800 and distance medley relays to build a sizable advantage over Roseburg in the team scoring, 46 to 24.

Roseburg enters Day 2 with an eight-point edge over Crater after totaling 39 points, with Grants Pass (30) and South Medford (27) just off the pace.

Today’s lineup at Bowerman Field features the field events, along with spotlight races on the track in the 100-meter dash, 300 hurdles and 1,500.

Crater’s Tyrone Gorze and Josiah Tostenson expect to be joined by Ashland’s Nathan Stein and South Medford’s Maiorano in providing for a fast finish in the boys 1,500.

“It’s nice now to kind of switch gears and let those field event kids get their time to shine,” said Voskes. “It’s a slower pace tomorrow but then I think we finish with a bang with the 100 and quality 1,500 races.”

Medford Rotary Relays

Friday’s Results

BOYS

TEAM SCORES: Roseburg 39, Crater 31, Grants Pass 30, South Medford 27, Henley 21, North Medford 18, Mazama 15, North Valley 12, Hidden Valley 11, Ashland 9, Cascade Christian 6, Phoenix 5.

4x100 RELAY — 1, South Medford (Deacon Edgar, Andrew Walker, Benjamin Krebs, Asher Johnson), 43.51; 2, Roseburg, 43.64; 3, North Medford, 44.71.

4x200 RELAY — 1, Grants Pass (Zachery Dobson-Donaldson, Jared Hatt, Raiden Takahashi, Alex Guymon), 1:35.86; 2, Roseburg, 1:36.19; 3, Mazama, 1:36.20

4x400 RELAY — 1, Roseburg (Keanu Christner, Carter Stedman, Landyn Dupper, Charles Anderson), 3:33.11; 2, Henley, 3:35.62; 3, Mazama, 3:37.32.

4x800 RELAY — 1, North Medford (Trent Wayman, Jimmy Scull, Alec Winters, Trey Driskell), 8:40.95; 2, Crater, 8:45.62; 3, South Medford, 9:01.55.

DISTANCE MEDLEY — 1, South Medford (Connor Singer, Andrew Walker, Michael Maiorano, Arik Parker), 11:03.95; 2, Ashland, 11:18.11; 3, Crater, 11:33.95.

4x110 SHUTTLE HURDLE RELAY — 1, Grants Pass (Jayden Jessee, Adam Jenson, Chase Comyford, Ethan Burdis), 52.88; 2, Crater, 56.92; 3, Roseburg, 57.30.

GIRLS

TEAM SCORES: Grants Pass 46, Roseburg 24, South Medford 23, North Medford 19, Crater 19, Henley 19, North Valley 19, Phoenix 15, Ashland 13, Hidden Valley 13, Cascade Christian 10, Mazama 1.

4x100 RELAY — 1, Grants Pass (Zanai Vainuku-Johnson, Adison Thorson, Brooke Anderson, Sophie Mock), 51.19; 2, South Medford, 51.74; 3, North Valley, 53.21.

4x200 RELAY — 1, Grants Pass (Zanai Vainuku-Johnson, Callie Brandes, Kenzie Kleiner, Brooke Anderson), 1:49.76; 2, South Medford, 1:50.60; 3, Roseburg, 1:52.90.

4x400 RELAY — 1, North Valley (Olivia Smith, Lainie Wheeler, Isabella Champion, Kaylen Avila), 4:19.30; 2, Grants Pass, 4:27.63; 3, Hidden Valley, 4:28.07.

4x800 RELAY — 1, Roseburg (Charis Childers, Corinne Childers, Zoe Traul, Elizabeth Eckman), 10:21.82; 2, Crater, 10:45.47; 3, North Medford, 10:46.02.

DISTANCE MEDLEY — 1, Grants Pass (Ellie Berg, Mary Sturley, Madison Wilt, Nettle Grey), 13:25.56; 2, Ashland, 13:39.16; 3, Phoenix, 13:51.07.

4x100 SHUTTLE HURDLE RELAY — 1, Crater (Lucy Mitchell, Olivia Slaughter, Kate Harnois, Karrah Borchard), 52.50; 2, Cascade Christian, 55.61; 3, South Medford, 55.65.

Have a story idea? Reach sports editor Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, khenry@rosebudmedia.com or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneTeams from Crater and North Medford make the final exchange during the 4x800-meter relay at Spiegelberg Stadium in Medford Friday evening.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneCascade Christian's Autumn Murray finishes her leg as Sierra Samhammer starts during the 100m shuttle hurdle event at Spiegelberg Stadium in Medford Friday evening.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribunePhoenix's Citlali Ramos hands off to Mae Woodward winning their heat of the 4x200-meter relay at Spiegelberg Stadium in Medford Friday evening.